Who REALLY knows what they want to do??

Who REALLY knows what they want to do??
A picture of a cartoon heart pointing towards a pile of "good" things, saying to a cartoon brain to "Look!" - Meanwhile, the cartoon brain is too busy focusing (with a magnifying glass) on a singular "bad" thing, saying "Not NOW! Can't you see I'm BUSY?!"

By: Kylie Cole

The decision to pursue higher education is one that carries significant weight for many people; whether it be to chase a dream job, appease your parents, or adhere to societal norms. When I was contemplating this decision in high school, I remember not knowing who I was, or what I wanted to be…like AT ALL. In fact, I can confidently say that my decision to go to university was solely because I didn’t consider anything else. However, having now completed my third year, I am compelled to reflect on the reasons why I stayed, and what I’ve learned about myself…not to mention the MULTITUDE of opportunities that exist in life. I hope to articulate the transformative potential that I believe university education holds, (not that I’m trying to convince you to go), but to show you that learning happens in more ways than you think!  

I consider the most pivotal aspect of everyone's life journey to be the challenging process of personal growth and self-discovery, (which is unfortunately NEVER-ENDING). While some people are fortunate enough to have a clear career path in mind, for others, including myself, this is a huge source of stress. My university experience has been anything but conventional, and I used to think that wasn’t normal. BUT, I’m here to tell you that almost everyone experiences the unexpected…pro tip: it’s something called LIFE. 

Initially, I found myself enrolled in a program I knew little about, simply because I didn’t realize the importance of choosing something you like! I quickly realized that the program wasn't for me. I lost my sense of purpose, and it left me questioning the point of university itself. My focus was solely on grades, neglecting the notion of pursuing something I genuinely enjoyed. Despite always having a passion for learning, I came to the realization that I (naively) believed that solely excelling in school guaranteed automatic success. Faced with a decision, I confronted the crossroads of my academic journey: endure four more years of misery (in the program I didn’t like) or take action. Consequently, I made the bold choice to return home, (aka switch universities), and change my program! What I have learned from my experience, and what I want to share with you, is that university represents a transformative period of self-discovery. It not only taught me that complacency can rob you of potential, but offers an environment conducive to exploring one's identity, values, and aspirations. Though I went to university to learn about proteins, cellular mechanisms, (all that fun stuff), I learned so much more about who I am and what I want/don’t want. I was really anxious about going through so much change, and if any of you know me personally, I am very stubborn! Making the decision to switch schools and programs made me feel like a failure, and I felt like I was the only one who was doing it. Turns out, there are so many people who do that!!! It is OKAY if you don’t make the right decision on the first try. Sometimes, you have to make decisions to learn what you really like… and more annoyingly, what you don’t like!  

MAP is something I wanted to create because of the experiences I had in university. I felt like I had virtually no exposure to all the opportunities, different careers, and programs that exist, and I know this is something that many can relate to. It is also a forum for me to tell you that yes, school is important, but it is NOT everything. It is not worth sleepless nights or sacrificing the things you like to do. Most importantly, it should be something you enjoy don’t hate! If you ever feel lost, please reach out. And no, I still don’t know what I’m going to be doing for a career, but I am confident that as long as I remain committed to learning and exploration, I will continue to uncover my passions and preferences, steering me towards a fulfilling career. This mindset of continuous discovery fuels my desire to continue pursuing a university degree, what fuels yours?  

Thank you for all who took the time to read this post! If you have any questions or want to rant, please feel free to reach out via Insta or our email (@mapmentorship / mapmentorship@outlook.com).